M&M'S sure knows how to party — as if that was ever up for debate. The brand's been going strong since 1941, and this year, it's kicking the celebration up a notch.
To celebrate its 75th birthday, the chocolate brand is launching the biggest marketing campaign in its history, "Celebrate with M." It's a year-long marketing bash that will feature star-studded events, product innovation, music collaborations, and unexpected partnerships meant to cement the brand's place in pop culture history.
"For 75 years, our fans have made M&M'S the iconic and beloved chocolate brand it is today," says Berta de Pablos-Barbier, v.p., marketing, Mars Chocolate North America. "We aren't satisfied with solely looking back on our history as America's favorite chocolate candies. We are looking to the next 75 years of innovation and transformation to engage, entice and excite consumers of today and tomorrow."
Fans can get in on the action using #CelebratewithM and by following the brand's social media pages for birthday surprises, exclusive access to one-of-a-kind experiences, the ability to help determine the next flavor to hit store shelves, and more.
But that's just the beginning.
M&M'S also kicked off the campaign with the release of "Candyman" a modern remake of Sammy Davis Jr.'s The Candy Man song (1972). Nostalgia and soulful riffs come together in this new version featuring Grammy award-winning artist Zedd and Grammy-nominated musician Aloe Blacc. The single is available for download in iTunes and streaming on Spotify, and comes with a full-length music video featuring Aloe Blacc, Zedd, and M&M'S characters Red and Yellow.
"M&M'S collaboration with Aloe Blacc and Zedd was not about creating a soundtrack for a new television spot. Rather, it's about inspiring a new generation of fans to sing along and celebrate with us," says de Pablos-Barbier. "It was also our ambition to be 'digital first' as we were able to create an incredible amount of engaging content through this partnership that will enable us to be culturally relevant with millennials and Gen Z fans."
And to round out the colorful launch, the brand is also releasing:
- Retro Packaging: #TBT wouldn't be complete without the M&M'S version of a throwback. Available on store shelves in February, the brand will release 12 retro designs (six designs each for Milk Chocolate and Peanut inspired by the brand's 75-year heritage and history from the 1940s – 1990s). Available at retailers nationwide, consumers can get their collectible M&M'S in single and box packs starting at $1.49.
- Flavor Vote: Starting on March 1 through June 17, fans will have the chance to vote for the next limited edition M&M'S flavor to hit store shelves. Original Peanut will go head-to-head with three new M&M'S Brand Chocolate Peanut varieties – Chili Nut, Honey Nut and Coffee Nut – in a socialized consumer campaign to determine America's Favorite Peanut.
- Red Nose Day: For the second year, the M&M'S Brand will partner with NBC and Comic Relief as a title sponsor to raise awareness and money for the Red Nose Day Fund, an organization that helps to uplift children out of poverty. In 2015, the M&M'S Brand donated more than 1.3 million dollars to Red Nose Day charities.
- Operation Gratitude: To honor M&M'S origin as a military ration during World War II, Mars Chocolate, makers of M&M'S, will donate $750,000 worth of product to Operation Gratitude for inclusion in military care packages throughout 2016.
- Be@rBrick: To commemorate M&M'S 75th anniversary, M&M'S World is launching a partnership with Japanese lifestyle brand, Be@rBrick. The exclusive line will feature Be@rBrick's iconic collectible characters, apparel and accessories – all inspired by M&M'S heritage
"As we look ahead, we hope to inspire new stories with a new generation of artists and consumers and showcase the love our fans have for M&M'S by tapping into their unique world view to bring the essence of the brand to life in new, colorful and creative ways," says de Pablos-Barbier.